Norman

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  Been busy training new staff for the first time in years and just got through major report-writing time of the year. My next series of blogs will be about the members of our executive team, the men and women who stand beside me in the daily attempt to make sense of the world.  I’ll lead with NORMAN DOUGLAS WISE.

Known to most simply as Norman, he is a picture of unassuming passion.  You’ll never get him up on stage; not without a fight anyway.  He prefers to lead from the rear but never fails to support the front.  Maybe that stems from his military roots … or maybe that’s just Norman.  As well-versed as any in the rules and regulations that govern us, he casts himself in the role of point man when a special effort is called for.  The unspoken expectation among our team is that Norman will do the administrative legwork to get us to our destination.  That could be onto a bureaucrat’s desk or into the labyrinth of federal cyberspace.

He leads our largest section.  His daily lot is to mobilize the administrative and maintenance functions of the Public Housing operations.  He doubles as the lead on capital improvements for all CHA-owned properties.  He wears the frustrations of imperfection on his sleeve and refuses to rejoice in the small victories along the way.  He’ll surprise you with a quip that sums up a recent dilemma and always opt to credit subordinates for jobs well done.

Internal relations for Norman aren’t always smooth.  Armed with a scowl and his signature Timberland boots, his passions run high and there are no kit gloves on his tool belt.  I think he said it best himself one day a few years ago.  We were brainstorming for a tag line on the heels of an emotional run of events.  “With us, it’s personal.”  What he actually meant was “With ME, it’s personal.”  He embodies the lifers in our business, pushing individuals and families to do better.  “Don’t be a knucklehead and try to mess things up.”  His peeps don’t often ‘get’ his love and support of them … as I don’t think he gets mine.

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